All Bound For Mu

I’ve been ridiculously productive this past week. I revived Game Music Revue to write about the Famicom Game Sound Musuems, and I wrote a blog post about my struggles with converting analog-to-digital. I can’t believe I’ve been doing that for over ten years now. Does that make me an expert? I don’t feel like an expert.

Here’s a cassette tape. I hate them.

Kamiya- Mu
I hate cassette tapes, did I mention that? So I feel like such a hypocrite whenever I buy one. I was just on a podcast (coming soon) and I literally spent a good five minutes rallying against tapes and their unexpected and inexplicable revival here in Japan, only to then go out and immediately buy one.

It wasn’t my first choice though, if I would’ve seen this one on vinyl I definitely would’ve chosen that format first. I mean, look at that cover. That deserves the full 12″ treatment. (Yikes, that sounded like a euphemism.)

Anyway, I didn’t really know what it was when I bought it. I just saw that cover and assumed it was some crazy newage/synthesizer/jazz/funk thing. And I assumed right. I know that sounds like a stretch, but seriously, it feels like every other Japanese album from 1978-1981 fits in that genre.

This album is a real rollercoaster, swinging across all of those genres with some experimental and dissonant stuff thrown in as well. While it does run the gamut, its certainly more towards the easy listening, smooth newage side of the spectrum. If Kamiya was from the states, this would’ve been released on Windham Hill Records.

My favorite cut on the album is without question “Appalachian Road,” a jaunty jazzy little number with excellent vocoder use and a killer melody that’ll get stuck in your head for days. Peter Frampton by way of Herbie Hancock. “Barbarella” is a choice cut too. I imagine playing this in my space lounge, sipping space martinis with my space boyfriend – who is just my current boyfriend but with a jetpack.

Kamiya’s full name is Shigenori Kamiya and I found out after buying this that I actually have another one of his records. In 1982 he released a “soundtrack” to the manga Tomb Of The Pharoh. It was part of the Synthesizer Fantasy series, a collection of albums that present synthesized versions of popular anime themes, as well as a few original soundtracks inspired by manga. I’ve shared some Synthesizer Fantasy records before, they’re on the shortlist of my favorite things ever. If you ever find yourself shopping for vinyl in Japan and you come across any record with that label on, I suggest buying it. You probably won’t be disappointed.

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